The Karate Kid

Rated 3.0

The title is a clear case of false advertising, with only a loose connection to the 1984 teen classic, and no karate at all. Instead, the hero (Jaden Smith) moves to Beijing with his mother (Taraji P. Henson), where he learns kung fu from a janitor (Jackie Chan) to help him face a local bully (Zhenwei Wang). With Smith’s parents Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as producers and support from the China Film Group, the movie’s goals are to (1) make a star of Jaden Smith, and (2) plug Chinese tourism. It’s more successful at the former; like his parents, Smith is quite up to carrying a whole movie, especially with help from Henson and Chan (in an excellent straight-acting performance). On the downside, the movie is too long at 135 minutes, and James Horner’s musical score is, as always, an obnoxious intrusion..